Saturday, 18 August 2012

16th August – Leopard Central!

Photo of the Day
Umfana male onc more posing for us like a little star!

Photo of the Day

Morning Drive

(Chad, Marka, Peter and Grant)

5 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride with buffalo kill) – Karans, Ingwe Drive

1 x leopard (Rockfig Jnr female) – Vielmetter, Hide Dam Southern Access

1 x rhino (relaxed male)

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Mbali, Illegal Crossing

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Tamboti Link

1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Crossing Below Argyle Dam

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Marka, Herold, Shadrack and Grant)

5 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride with buffalo kill) – Karans, Ingwe Drive

1 x leopard (Umfana male) – Vielmetter, Hide Dam Southern Access

1 x leopard (Nthombi female with impala kill stolen by hyena) – Kings, Double Highway

2 x rhino (relaxed male and female)

4 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd North

Daily Synopsis

Hello hello hello! Im back, and yes, already late in posting my blogs!!! But burning the midnight oil to bring you these posts, so I trust that you will all enjoy having me back for a few days –thanks to Grant and Andrea for your great work the last say I was a shade of green seeing some of their photos would be the understatement of the century; especially when Grant’s images of Makepisi male leopard drinking popped expressions upon seeing that probably wont make it onto too many family-friendly sites!!!

Anyway, I was back on drive straight away, and as usual, the Motswari Pride had arrived during my leave and left prior to my return – they certainly know how to time it! But fortunately the Mafikizolo Pride decided to hang around a bit, as did loads of leopards, which is great, as my first set of guests were a group of on a photographic safari primarily to photograph leopards! Our first drive saw us enjoy the Mafikizolo Pride and Umfana male leopard each enjoying their own kills, but my first full day back was definitely one I could do more often!

Vielmetter is on fire this August (as it is almost every August without fail!), and over the two drives, 5 different leopards were found between Hide Dam and Elephant Dam, making it the hotspot for leopards at the moment!

My morning started off visiting Argyle Dam where our hippos had already returned to the water and fallen asleep, but the Egyptian Goose family was still doing well, and all 7 babies are still alive! There were also a few waterbuck, impala, hyenas and steenbuck around the dam.

Hippos, egyptian geese chicks and waterbuck at Argyle Dam

Moving towards the Nhlaralumi Riverbed, we didn’t see all that much, possibly as a result of a cool morning, but as things warmed up, so did the game-viewing. It started with a relatively relaxed troop of baboons (whose usual haunt was uninhabitable as a construction crew is busy rebuilding Mbali Dam) and an even more relaxed vervet monkey!
A herd of buffalo were feeding along the banks of the riverbed towards Klipgat’s waterhole, but as their pace was slow, we left them to their feeding and moved on...especially as Rockfig Jnr had made a welcomed appearance on Vielmetter near Hide Dam.

Baboons and a herd of buffalo along the Nhlaralumi

As per usual, with somewhere to go, the animals came out –we stopped to watch a herd of kudus watching something...hoping for a predator, we soon spotted the hyena that was causing them a little concern. More kudu bulls, a herd of elephants and a couple of giraffes engaged in a playful fight occupied us for the next while.

Kudus watching a hyena, elephant herd and fighting giraffes

Moving closer to Hide Dam, we had another journey of giraffes, but eventually got to the leopard, and Rockfig Jnr was quite active, half-heartedly showing interest in some nearby zebras.

A journey of giraffes and Rockfig Jnr watching some zebras

She soon went to rest, and we enjoyed some more time with her before she continued her search for food; eventually our time was running out so we parted company and moved back north towards the camp.

Rockfig Jnr - a most obliging subject this morning

The afternoon was not the windy mess that Mr Weatherman had promised, and instead was a very pleasant afternoon. My guests wanted to go to the hyena den, so I planned my drive to get there just as the afternoon was cooling off, and “killed time” by checking the east. Seems something had already killed everything there! It was very quiet, with only a few impala, hippo, a family of warthogs and a lot of mopane trees showing up.

Warthog and impalas

All was forgiven when we arrived at the hyena den and found all five babies out the hole for the first time (well, mine anyway!). The two newbies were just great, and so playful and totally unafraid of us – barely even pausing as we approached!
The bigger two rested, but the middle cub seemed delighted to have two new playmates, and we spent some quality time watching as these oh-so-cute cubs did their thing.

Two small cubs now part of the activity at the hyena den!

Mr Leopard-Man Johannes had no sooner left me at the hyena den when he radioed to tell me that he had found Umfana male leopard resting in a marula tree at Hide Dam – this was wonderful as I was 500m away and negated my need to go further to see either Nthombi or her cub (Grant saw the former after she lost another kill to a young hyena).

Umfana male had made up for the poor tree he chose last night, and was resting in typical leopard fashion in the most gorgeous light making photographing him rather easy!

Umfana male chilling up a marula tree at Hide Dam

He later came down and wandered in the direction of a giraffe, but we left him to it and went for a drink.

Marka enjoying a monocular visioned sighting of Umfana as he hassled a giraffe

Heading home was a bit quiet, but we made a stop at the lions as they were finishing off their buffalo kill – they had dragged it into a thicket of trees which made photography not-so-easy, but we still enjoyed a great sighting of some nice and active lions – especially once the big male left the carcass!

Mafikizolo Pride finishing off their buffalo carcass

I have attached some pics of the kill from yesterday too for you to enjoy!

So that was my first full day back on drive – glad that the animals stuck around...the wind is expected to come up tomorrow, so I just hope that the wind doesn’t blow our present run of great viewing away!

Honey badger and Mafikizolo Pride feasting from yesterday afternoon


  1. beautiful pictures, some really amazing moments, thank you so much for sharing, I dream of the day when I can visit such places, god bless you!

  2. Thank yu for the great pictures of your first day back. I look forward to enjoying many more.

  3. You sure do make up for being late, Chad. Stunning, stunning photo's. Very thankful the "cat luck" held for your return.